This guest post is by Greg Digneo of Sales Leads in Thirty Days.
Here’s the dirty little secret: there are actually two steps to building an extremely popular blog.
The first and most popular step is to drive traffic by guest posting, social media, and SEO.
The far less sexy step is to convert that traffic into loyal readers who will become the backbone of your community. Who will share every piece of content you produce with their friends. And who will ensure that every post sparks an engaging discussion.
But most of all, they will be the first to buy your products and services.
The key to converting random traffic into loyal readers
Most likely, your readers have dozens of blogs in their RSS feed. They follow hundreds of people on Twitter and have “liked” quite a few brands on Facebook. With all this noise, your message is bound to be lost.
The most guarded space in a person’s online world is their inbox. If you are able to get your blog post into your reader’s inbox, then there’s a much higher chance of your post being read.
But, you have to earn your way into someone’s inbox by creating a killer call to action. Give your readers exactly what they want, when they want it, in exchange for their email address.
Below are five ways that you can create a killer call to action.
1. Get a celebrity endorsement
On the back of every non-fiction book, you’ll see at least four notable authors or industry experts boasting about how great the book is. On television, weight loss ads are endorsed by actors and athletic apparel ads always feature athletes.
Marketers have long used the power of celebrity endorsements to motivate their target audience to take action and buy their products.
This is a tactic not lost on Derek Halpern, founder of the site Social Triggers. When you arrive at the Social Triggers blog, the first thing you will notice is a feature box at the top of the site. Derek’s feature box promises to give you psychology-based marketing advice in exchange for your email address.
But what makes Derek’s feature box so effective is the celebrity endorsement by Chris Brogan that says “I’m totally loving Social Triggers.” Derek is a master of psychology. He understands that his readers will be more willing to subscribe to his email list because someone of Chris Brogan’s clout loves his work.
An endorsement from an A-list blogger is truly something that needs to be earned by posting high-quality content and building strong relationships over time. However, it is one of the most powerful ways to help build your email list.
2. Create a tangible offer
Research shows that when you create a very tangible benefit, your audience will be more inclined to take action.
On Quicksprout.com, Neil Patel creates a very tangible call to action in three steps that explains to his audience exactly what they are going to get.
The first thing Neil does is create a very compelling headline. Instead of making a vague promise such as “How to get more traffic”, he decided to create a headline that will tell you exactly how much traffic you are going to get.
The headline “Double your traffic in 30 days” is so compelling because his readers can imagine how much better their blog will be next month with twice the traffic. They can easily imagine more Tweets, more comments, and more money.
Second, by telling his readers that the course is worth $300, he provides a specific value. This further increases the reader’s excitement because they feel like they are getting a bargain.
Finally, he has pictures and books and CDs just below his headline that provides a physical representation of the information.
By offering a tangible benefit that your readers can wrap their heads around, you will be able to grow your email list, and your blog, much faster.
3. Create social proof through trusted sources
When Ramit Sethi drives traffic to his blog on Iwillteachyoutoberich.com, one of his goals is to get readers to sign up for his free “Dream Jobs” course.
Ramit’s niche is the extremely competitive personal finance space. Aside from being a great copywriter, he creates a great call to action by pointing to readers that he has been featured in mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNBC, and Fortune.
Because everyone interested in money and career advice is seeking credible experts, citing his features in the most renowned mainstream publications makes Ramit’s call to action almost irresistible.
There’s a good chance that you have never been featured in the New York Times or the the Wall Street Journal, but you can use similar tactics to build credibility by guest posting on popular blogs.
The most popular blogs only publish guest posts with unique and interesting content. If your content has been published on a popular blog, then you’ve built credibility in your reader’s mind that your blog is interesting and worth reading on a regular basis.
4. Speak to your readers’ innermost desire
Do you know what your audience really wants? Do you know what they think about late at night when everyone else is fast asleep?
Jon Morrow knows. He has an intimate knowledge of what his readers truly desire. On his blog BoostBlogTraffic.com, Jon is giving away a free cheat sheet that reveals 52 hacks to write great headlines.
While bloggers may be interested in writing great headlines, Jon understands that bloggers really want blog posts to go viral. And headlines are one of the elements that make viral posts possible. The only way for Jon to truly understand the inner desires of his audience is to speak with them on the phone or in person.
If you are able to speak with your readers frequently, you will understand what keeps them awake at night and create a call to action that speaks to their innermost desires.
5. Create a relevant offer
At the bottom of every post on Hubspot is a call to action that gives readers more information on how to be better at social media and internet marketing.
What’s remarkable about Hubspot’s call to actions is their relevance. For instance, this offer for a free ebook on email marketing came at the bottom of a post titled “How to Breathe Life into a Boring Email Newsletter”.
By offering an ebook on email marketing after a person has just spent five to ten minutes reading an article on the subject, Hubspot is able to increase conversions—they’re simply offering a way to receive more information on the topic in which a person has already expressed interest.
Creating relevant offers isn’t something that can be done right away. Hubspot is able to do it because they have an entire team of marketers creating ebooks, webinars, and tools for their readers to download. As your blog progresses, you will be able to repurpose your content to create relevant calls to action.
The bottom line
The truth is even the most perfectly crafted call to action isn’t going to turn you into an A-list blogger overnight. You probably won’t get thousands of people to subscribe to your email list tomorrow. That takes connections, work, and time.
But what if you get a hundred email subscribers this month? And what if five of those subscribers buys your $500 course? How can you transform random traffic into loyal readers and paying customers?
Get thinking. Be creative. And over time, you will have a raving mob of loyal readers eager to consume your next blog post or purchase your next product. Just be sure to remember me when you’re rich and famous.
Greg Digneo is the author of the blog Sales Leads in Thirty Days and is hosting a free webinar that shows bloggers and content marketers how to drive more traffic to their blog and convert that traffic into sales.